Mock Trial Season Successful Despite Disappointment

On March 20, the mock trial team held their end-of-season party at
Star Tavern in Orange, NJ. Looking back, this season was both a promising and a disappointing
one at the same time.

The team received the case in the beginning of October and held tryouts for each of the
six witness roles immediately. The team had only four returning members for this year. These
four members, Ronan Hagar ’19, Matthew Aurilia ’19, Nick Minasian ’20, and I were
named the team’s lawyers. All six of our witnesses that we assigned roles to following the
tryouts had never competed in the mock trial competition before. Going into the season, we
were a bit worried by the lack of experience, but we knew that the new members were diligent
and would work as hard as they could for the team to win.

This year’s case involved an accident on a roller coaster at an amusement park. The
plaintiff alleged to receive serious injury due to the negligence, the proper care for the safety of
customers, of the amusement park employees. There were many holes in the case, which
presented both sides, the plaintiff side and the defense side, to have an even chance at winning in

After spending two months of familiarizing ourselves with the facts patterns of the case at
our weekly practices, we began scrimmaging other schools in November. We scrimmaged some
of the top schools from our area, including Mount St. Mary’s, Kent Place, and Passaic Tech.
With our practices and scrimmages, we felt confident about our chances in the tournament in late
January, but we knew we needed to take it into another gear and prepare more before the first

We began practicing multiple times a week after school and during activity periods as we
got close to the competition. Though over half of the team had never competed, we felt very
confident in ourselves and believed we were poised to make a run to the county finals once
again, where we lost to county champions Newark Academy two years ago.
On January 14, we headed to Veterans Courthouse in Newark for the first round of the
Essex County Mock Trial competition. We were matched up with Lacordaire Academy, an all-
girls school from Montclair. As decided by a flip of a coin, the defense side would go against
Lacordaire’s plaintiff side as our plaintiff side would watch on in preparation for their turn
tomorrow. Our defense side was led by our two lawyers, Nick Minasian ’20 and myself, and
comprised of three witnesses: Garret Strangeway ’22, Will Arzonico ’21, and Adam Rodriguez-
Hernandez ’21. Both teams did a great job presenting their cases, making this a very tough
decision for the judges, but they ruled in favor of Seton Hall Prep.

The next day, we headed back to the courthouse for our plaintiff’s side’s turn in the
tournament. They were set to face the defense side of Belleville High School. Our plaintiff side
was led by lawyers Matthew Aurilia ’19 and Ronan Hagar ’19, and by our three witnesses,
Gaetano Maioriano ’23, Christian Montanez ’23, and Nicholas Rauschenberger ’20. The
plaintiff side did an amazing job presenting their case, but the judges ruled in favor of Belleville,
even though we believed we had won this trial.

With this unfortunate loss, we were eliminated from the competition. We were very
disappointed with the ultimate result, but we knew we still had a successful season. With several
underclassmen gaining the experience of the Mock Trial competition at Verterans Courthouse,
the future of the team looks very bright.